Lok Sabha elections 2019| To save stadium in Dadar, press NOTA: Residents
To register their protest against the civic body’s plan to construct a gymkhana for KEM Hospital doctors at the Dr NA Purandare Stadium at Naigaon in Dadar (East), the Purandare Bachao Samiti has urged residents to use the NOTA (none of the above) option ,while voting in the upcoming Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.
The residents’ group on Friday issued pamphlets, targeting those living in Parel, Naigaon, Dadar, Bhoiwada and Sewri. Members of the group have organised a meet on Saturday to discuss the future course of action.
“We will make sure we use our right to vote and we will send a message through it. Let us not boycott the elections. But let us not support any political party or candidate, and use ‘none of the above’ option on the voting machine,” the notice reads.
Dhiren Khanolkar, president of the Purandare Bachao Samiti, said, “We hold annual tournaments [at the stadium] and members of the Samiti are professional state-level players, who have grown up practising here. Over 90% of the members of the stadium are employed in government jobs because of the sports quota. This stadium has given us our livelihood.”
Sunil Haldankar, 61, a resident, said, “I still play cricket and football on this ground. I started playing when I was a teenager. To ensure today’s youth gets the same benefits I did, I am going to protest by voting for NOTA.”
Purandare Stadium had been leased out by the BM to KEM Hospital. In April 2017, it came to light that the BMC planned to construct a gymkhana for the doctors on the ground.
Residents opposed to the plan then formed the Purandare Bachao Samiti. Residents say the stadium is one of the few open spaces left in the area. Spread over 27,000 sq-m, it is used by sportsmen, joggers, senior citizens, and kids.